In a major coup for the Coast over the June long weekend, a lucky few were treated to an epic feast by one of Australia’s original celebrity chefs.
Seasalt restaurant at Crowne Plaza Terrigal filled to the brim as chef Peter Kuruvita brought a taste of his home to ours.
Having worked with Neil Perry and Tony Bilson as they made their mark on Sydney’s cuisine scene in the 80s, Peter was part of the first wave of chefs that now dominate the most famed kitchens across the nation.
The father of three currently has seafood-focussed restaurants in Noosa and Fiji but Peter is increasingly returning to his roots to make his grandmother proud with superb Sri Lankan cooking.
Instantly setting the mood for an exotic feast, the tables are set with candle-lit lanterns that flicker over rich blue linens.
There are no less than eight pieces of cutlery which become decorative the moment Peter encourages us to eat with our hands. He jokes that eating curry with cutlery is like making love through an interpreter.
At the start of our three-course feast, Peter says that his biggest challenge is making Sri Lankan cuisine sexy, because ultimately it’s all about curry and rice.
While he endeavours to make the food more presentable, he says he feels his beloved Sri Lankan grandmother’s presence in the kitchen, ensuring he stays true to the recipes that have been passed down from earlier generations.
Following a silky soft, steaming roti, our first entree arrives. The lightly-seared yellow fin tuna with spanner crab and coriander gel is certainly presentable but then Peter admits it’s the least Sri Lankan of all of tonight’s dishes.
The food becomes more interesting as the night wears on with a reinvented pork curry up next. Instead of chunks of pork swimming in a sauce, the meat is a thick black rib served on a delicate circle of smoked yoghurt with a smattering of cucumber and herbs.
The “wild fish curry” also takes on a modern twist with a piece of barramundi served on a plate alongside some sweet potato, prawn and a pair of tomatoes.
It arrives in a puddle of yellow curry sauce but the presentation is more akin to something you’d see in a contemporary Australian restaurant than at your local curry house.
We swap out Pinot Gris for Pinot Noir as the final main arrives – a fragrant goat curry.
The chunks of slow-cooked organic goat are served in a lovely gravy, accompanied with rice and all the colourful trimmings of a classic curry.
It’s delicious and spicy and even though it’s eaten with a fork, nothing takes away from the sexiness of this experience.
According to Peter, there are only a few types of Sri Lanka desserts and tonight, we’re being treated to a curd and treacle concoction accompanied by a piping hot glass of cinnamon tea.
Sitting pretty in a glass with freeze-dried raspberries and pineapple, it’s traditional Sri Lankan fare presented beautifully. Mission accomplished, Peter.
Coastal Chic Tip: Don’t suffer from FOMO when Peter Kuruvita returns for an encore feast with a focus on seafood on October 7 – book now at Crowne Plaza Terrigal